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Producers of ‘The Wolf Bride’ convicted for mocking the Thai monarchy

A court in Thailand sentenced two theatre activists for insulting the country's monarchy.

Thailand, theatre actors arrested, arrested theatre actors, thaetre activists arrested, arrested theatre activistsm freedom of speech, thailand freedom of speech, freedom of speech thailand, World News Patiwat Saraiyaem and Pornthip Munkong arrive at the Criminal Court in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015. (AP Photo)

A court in Thailand on Monday sentenced two theatre activists to two and a half years in prison each for insulting the country’s monarchy.

The pair was involved in producing a play called “The Wolf Bride” about a fictional monarch and his adviser. It was performed at Bangkok’s Thammasat University in 2013 to mark the anniversary of a successful 1973 anti-dictatorship uprising led by students.

Thailand’s lese majeste law is the world’s harshest, carrying a punishment of three to 15 years in jail for anyone who defames, insults, or threatens the monarchy. Anyone can file a lese majeste complaint with police, and the charge has frequently been used as a weapon to harass political enemies. In this case, a group calling itself the Royal Monarch Alert Protection Network filed the complaint.

The pair, a university student and a recent graduate who are both in their 20s, had been in jail since last August and their bail requests were repeatedly turned down by a Bangkok court. Both had pleaded guilty, a common practice in lese majeste cases, in December.

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In announcing the verdict, a Bangkok Criminal Court judge said the play contained content that insulted and defamed the monarchy and was shown in front of a large number of spectators.

Pawinee Chumsri, the pair’s lawyer, told reporters the pair was not likely to appeal.

The military-installed government that seized power from an elected administration in last May’s coup has made defending the monarchy a priority in an effort to ensure stability toward the end of 87-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s reign.

 

First published on: 23-02-2015 at 11:18:59 am
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